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This Week in MLS -- July 12, 2011

This Week in MLS – July 12, 2011
 
  • Herbalife World Football Challenge kicks off tomorrow
  • Community MVP grand prize winner voting begins
  • Quotables and Sweet Tweets
  • According to Elias: Western “Elite Four” top the table
  • Week 18 match previews
 
Week 18 match schedule
(Home team listed first; all times Eastern)
Tuesday, July 12 (U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals)
           Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls, 8:30 p.m.
            Sporting Kansas City vs. Richmond Kickers (USL PRO), 8:30 p.m.
            FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake, 9 p.m.
            Seattle Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy, 10 p.m.
Saturday, July 16
            Seattle Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids, 4 p.m. (FOX Soccer)
            Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 4 p.m.
            Columbus Crew vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m.
            Chicago Fire vs. Portland Timbers, 8:30 p.m.
            Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m.
            FC Dallas vs. D.C. United, 9 p.m.
            Chivas USA vs. New York Red Bulls, 10:30 p.m. (Galavision)
Sunday, July 17
            New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union, 7 p.m.
 
2011 Herbalife World Football Challenge kicks off tomorrow
 
The Herbalife World Football Challenge, this summer’s multi-city North American soccer event featuring Major League Soccer and top international clubs, begins this week when 2011 MLS All-Star Game opponent Manchester United take on the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
 
Thirteen clubs, including Manchester United and Manchester City from England, Spanish powers FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, Italian club Juventus FC, Sporting Clube de Portugal and CD Guadalajara and Club América from Mexico, will take part in the three-week extravaganza featuring 14 matches across North America. Six matches involve MLS clubs.
 
2011 Herbalife World Football Challenge schedule
(Home team listed first; all times Eastern)
July 13  New England Revolution vs. Manchester United  Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.           8 p.m.
July 16  Manchester City vs. Club America                      AT&T Park, San Francisco, Calif                  8 p.m.
July 16  LA Galaxy vs. Real Madrid                                 L.A. Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, Calif. 10 p.m.
July 18  Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Manchester City    Empire Field, Vancouver, B.C.                     10 p.m.
July 20  Real Madrid vs. CD Guadalajara                         Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, Calif          11 p.m.
July 23  Chicago Fire vs. Manchester United                   Soldier Field, Chicago, Ill.                            5 p.m.
July 23  Juventus FC vs. Sporting Clube de Portugal       BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario                        7 p.m.
July 23  Philadelphia Union vs. Real Madrid                    Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa.      9 p.m.
July 24  LA Galaxy vs. Manchester City                           The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.        4 p.m.
July 26  Club America vs. Juventus FC                           Citi Field, Flushing, N.Y.                              7:30 p.m.
July 28  CD Guadalajara vs. Juventus FC                        Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, N.C.             8 p.m.
July 30  Manchester United vs. FC Barcelona                  FedExField, Landover, Md.                          7 p.m.
Aug. 3  FC Barcelona vs. CD Guadalajara                      Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Fla.                      8 p.m.
Aug. 6  FC Barcelona vs. Club América                          Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas             4 p.m.
 
Voting open for MLS W.O.R.K.S/The Home Depot Community MVP grand prize
 
Voting is now open for the grand prize winner of the 2011 MLS W.O.R.K.S./The Home Depot Community MVPs. One Community MVP was chosen to represent each MLS club and will be recognized at the 2011 AT&T MLS All-Star Game for their outstanding dedication and commitment to making a difference and improving their local communities.
 
The MVPs will be recognized at a pre-game reception and during an on-field ceremony during halftime of the All-Star Game. The grand prize winner, who will be chosen through an online voting process, will receive a $10,000 donation to the charity of their choice. In order to vote for their favorite MVP, fans should “like” MLS on Facebook (facebook.com/MLS) and visit the MLS W.O.R.K.S. tab.  Voting will take place from July 8 at 3 p.m. ET to July 22 at 5 p.m. ET. Additional information on the winnerscan be found on the MLS W.O.R.K.S. website.
 
Quotables
 
“It’s never easy when you come back too quick to [face] a team you played for. Scoring against them felt great. It’s not easy when you transition, but everything worked out. Getting moved last week and playing them the week after. Everything works out the way it does for a reason. You just want to do what you can to show what they gave up, but that is the business and that is how things are done in this league. I’m moving forward now.”
-- D.C. United midfielder Dwayne De Rosario, after scoring the game’s lone goal in the 1-0 win vs. New York
 
“I was like, ‘What are you jumping for?’ ”
-- Real Salt Lake midfielder Andy Williams, to the Salt Lake Tribune, after his free kick was fumbled by FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman for a goal
 
"I don't know how that went in. That's why we pay him the big money."
-- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena after David Beckham scored directly from a corner kick
 
“I looked up and I saw [Birahim] Diop, Kei [Kamara] and C.J. [Sapong]. Those aren’t too bad of targets. I felt like a quarterback out there a little bit.”
-- Sporting KC defender Matt Besler, on the long ball that started the stoppage-time equalizer vs. Chivas USA
 
“What can we take positive from these two games? I guess you could say they're over. There is not much positive to take from these two games."
-- Toronto FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei after a two-game road trip where TFC is outscored 7-0
 
"His ratio of goals to games is quite phenomenal. I would think mostly it boils down to confidence. For forwards, when they're hitting the back of the net, it breeds confidence. They feel and play with more freedom."
-- Colorado Rapids head coach Gary Smith on Conor Casey, who scored his sixth goal in seven games
 
Sweet Tweets
 
@BrianStraus– July 6
SI leads site today w/ story on fixing MLB allstar game. There's no ? that MLS has best allstar game in sports. Format was a brilliant idea.
 
@ChrisWondo– July 10
Thank you so much for all the fans who voted. This means so much to me.
 
@mbesler– July 10
I feel extremely honored to be named an All-Star and can't wait to represent @sportingkc and my teammates against Man U
 
@AllenAHopkins– July 10
BTW - Must be Ian Darke. First Donovan vs. Algeria and now Wambach vs. Brazil. #broadcastersluck
 
@duresport(Beau Dure) – July 11
I've been informed that my #MLS book "Long-Range Goals" should be available on Kindle by Aug. 1.
 
@NERevolution– July 11
Steve Nicol just ran into his former Scotland mngr and Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. http://lockerz.com/s/119271661
 
According to the Elias Sports Bureau: Western “Elite Four” top the table
 
Four Western Conference teams have earned more points this season than any team in the East. And with each passing week, the LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders FC, FC Dallas, and Real Salt Lake are looking more like a “super group” as they battle for control of the West. Those four teams have combined for a 31-8-23 record when facing opponents from outside the group this season, including a 20-2-11 mark at home. The record is even more impressive over the past two months: 20-2-16 since May 7 (14-1-8 at home).
 
This weekend’s schedule includes three games involving one of the “Elite Four” against an outsider: Dallas hosts D.C. United, Seattle hosts Colorado, and Real Salt Lake visits Vancouver. The Galaxy’s next league match is Wednesday, July 20, when Columbus pays a visit.
 
Week 18 match previews: July 16-17, 2011 (all times ET)
Saturday, July 16
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids, 4 p.m. (FOX Soccer)
·         Fredy Montero’s first two-goal game since his MLS debut on March 19, 2009 extended Sounders FC’s undefeated streak to eight games (5-0-3) in their 3-2 win at Cascadia Cup rivals Portland.
·         Conor Casey continued his hot streak, scoring for the sixth time in his last seven games, all since May 28, in Colorado’s 2-1 win against Vancouver last weekend.
·         The game will be played on a temporary grass field laid over the artificial surface at CenturyLink Field, in advance of Manchester United’s visit to Seattle next week.
·         Fredy Montero’s 19th-minute goal gave Sounders FC a 1-0 victory in the first meeting this season, April 22 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
 
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 4 p.m.
·         Fabian Espindola scored for the second consecutive game after coming off the bench as a substitute, his fifth goal in his last seven games, to cap Real’s 2-0 win against FC Dallas on Saturday.
·         Whitecaps FC have now lost four consecutive games in MLS play, and five in all competitions – the longest losing slide of their inaugural season.
·         Against Colorado, first-round SuperDraft selection Michael Nanchoff (No. 8 overall) made his first MLS start for Vancouver, in a team that featured six starters 23 years of age or younger, including two teenagers.
·         In these clubs’ first meeting, June 4 at Rio Tinto Stadium, Jean Alexandre scored his first MLS goal then set up Espindola for another as Real won.
 
Columbus Crew vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m.
·         Jeff Cunningham scored his first goal of the season to give the Crew the 1-0 win at Vancouver in their last match, the 133rd goal of his MLS league career, tying him with Jaime Moreno for the all-time lead. Cunningham’s goal also made him the Crew’s all-time leading scorer with 63, one ahead of Brian McBride, who will be honored at halftime of this game.
·         The Crew are returning to action after a 10-day layoff, having won four of their last six games to move within a point of the lead in the Eastern Conference.
·         The Earthquakes will have a midweek diversion, as they play host to English Premier League side West Bromwich Albion on July 13 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
·         In their first meeting this season, May 14 at Buck Shaw Stadium, goals from Chris Wondolowski, Brandon McDonald and Khari Stephenson led San Jose to a 3-0 win against Columbus.
 
Chicago Fire vs. Portland Timbers, 8:30 p.m.
·         The Fire saw their eight-game undefeated run (1-0-7) come to an end in last weekend’s 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center.
·         Since returning to the starting lineup on June 12 after missing nearly two months, Patrick Nyarko has recorded three assists, setting up Cristian Nazarit’s second goal in four games in the 2-1 loss at LA.
·         Jorge Perlaza scored twice and Portland inaugurated their Jeld-Wen Field history in fine style, a 4-2 win against the Fire in the first meeting on April 14.
·         After winning their first five games at Jeld-Wen Field, the Timbers have now gone five home games without a victory, losing for a fourth time in that stretch in the 3-2 loss to arch-rival Seattle on Sunday.
 
Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m.
·         The Dynamo have recorded back-to-back shutouts for the first time this season after the 2-0 win against Toronto FC on Saturday.
·         Sporting kept their Livestrong Sporting Park undefeated start alive with a second consecutive second-half game-tying goal, this time a stoppage-time goal from Omar Bravo for a 1-1 tie with Chivas USA.
·         Sporting are now unbeaten in 10 league games. They are one of three teams still undefeated at home in 2011 (2-0-3), along with both conference leaders – the LA Galaxy (5-0-5) and Philadelphia Union (5-0-4).
·         The teams are meeting for the first time this season in league play, but Sporting claimed a 1-0 victory in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match on April 6 behind an extra-time goal from C.J. Sapong.
 
FC Dallas vs. D.C. United, 9 p.m.
·         Dwayne De Rosario became the first player in MLS history to score for three different teams in a single season when he netted his first D.C. United goal in the win against New York. De Rosario scored one goal in two appearances for Toronto FC to start the season, then netted two in 13 games with New York, before scoring in his second game with United.
·         D.C. United snapped a string of three draws with the win in New York, and the Black-and-Red have lost just once since the start of May.
·         FC Dallas saw their three-game winning streak come to an end in the 2-0 loss at Real Salt Lake. FCD did not score against RSL in their two league meetings this season.
·         The teams played to a scoreless draw when they met for the first time this season, May 7 at RFK Stadium.
 
Chivas USA vs. New York Red Bulls, 10:30 p.m. (Galavision)
·         Nick LaBrocca’s six goals this season eclipse his previous career total; in his first four MLS seasons combined, LaBrocca scored five goals.
·         The Red Bulls were shut out for the first time since April 9 in their 1-0 home loss to D.C. United, but still lead the league with 34 goals scored.
·         Red Bulls right back Jan Gunnar Solli leads all defenders with six assists, after recording two in last week’s 5-0 win vs. Toronto FC. Houston’s Brad Davis leads the league with nine assists.
·         In the clubs’ first encounter this season (May 14) Justin Braun scored a hat trick to lead Chivas USA to a 3-2 win against the Red Bulls.
 
Sunday, July 17
New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union, 7 p.m.
·         The Revolution return to league play for the first time since their 3-3 draw at Real Salt Lake on July 4, but before they face Union, they will meet Manchester United on Wednesday at Gillette Stadium.
·         Union conclude a three-game road swing with the visit to New England. They’ve played to draws at D.C. United (2-2) and San Jose (0-0) to start the trip.
·         After maintaining the same back four for nine consecutive games, Union manager Peter Nowak had to make two changes against San Jose with Carlos Valdes ill and the trade of Jordan Harvey. Stefani Miglioranzi moved into an unfamiliar central defense position, but Philadelphia still kept a clean sheet.
·         Union went undefeated against the Revolution in their inaugural season, the teams playing to a 1-1 draw in Foxborough, then Philadelphia taking a 2-1 victory at PPL Park.